I've started panicking about the future of WiiWare's availability, so I'm turning around and purchasing WiiWare titles I've been dragging my feet on. Onslaught, a first person shooter on WiiWare, was one of these. Despite being an early title for the service and having to work with significant size limitations, the developers Shade, Inc. surprisingly squeezed in a decent experience.
Onslaught focuses entirely on shooting hordes of enemies. You play as a member of an expeditionary team on a deserted planet. Not too long after arriving, he finds that the planet is infested with massive genetically enhanced bugs. There are only a handful of enemy types and all of which lack strength and have poor AI. However, they have numbers on their side. The player uses an assault rifle, submachine gun, shotgun, rocket launcher, grenades and an energy whip to tear through these foes. The arsenal is generic, but all the weapons are functional and serve their purpose.
As with most shooters on the Wii, Onslaught controls via the Wii Remote's pointer. The player shoots within a bounding box on the screen and going outside of that box will turn the camera. The game is not the best controlling shooter of this style thanks to poor sensitivity for turning. However, the player is almost always moving forward, so it's rarely a issue. The motion controls overall work well with a few nice gimmicks here and there. For example, the player has to shake the nun-chuck to wipe the bugs' blood and guts off their screen to clear their view.
Across the game's 13 missions, players defend locations, navigate from point A to B, or just cause pure carnage by killing every bug on the map. The story is generally forgettable and cheesy, and mostly told through still images and dialog boxes. A few giant bug boss fights are in the game as well, but they normally come down to an annoyingly long encounter with non-stop strafing and shooting. The player is occasionally given a vehicle with mounted machine guns, but it's mainly used to simply slaughter even more bugs.
It's easy to tell that the WiiWare's size limitations had its effect on Onslaught. Most of the locales look exactly the same and you'll be killing the same bugs non-stop from start to finish. Impressively, the Wii easily handles dozens upon dozens of bugs on screen at once.
Onslaught is mostly mindless shooting, but later on the game becomes much more challenging. In the past, online co-op was an option. Today that's no longer the case with Nintendo Wi-Fi now gone. Players have to rely on two computer controlled partners whom they can assign to shoot to the front, the sides or behind the player. These partners seem just like some extra fire power early on, but later on these characters become key in helping the player reduce damage taken and for defending objectives from multiple fronts.
In all honesty, Onslaught is more of a technical surprise for an early WiiWare game. It works and was impressive given WiiWare's circumstances in 2009. That being said, if you do want a cheap, fun and largely mindless shooter, Onslaught delivers. Just keep your expectations low.
Score 6.0 / 10
- Impressive number of enemies on screen
- Enjoyably mindless shooting with light strategy
- Fun small motion gimmicks
- Repetitive environments, enemies and bosses
- Generic weapons
- Probably cooler in 2009